WEEKLY PRAYERS FROM JERUSALEM
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem invites you to weekly Online Prayers. Join Zoom Meeting. Time: 06:00 PM (GMT +2) Jerusalem, every week on Thursday.
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23rd of March 2023
Next week Kumi Now will highlight how the blockade has affected Gaza since it was fully enforced by Israel and Egypt in 2007. The people have been denied access to most of the natural resources needed for their sustenance. It has been called the biggest prison on Earth.
• Compassionate and merciful Lord, we bring the residents of Gaza to you as they try to survive amid poverty, unemployment and frequent military attacks from Israel. We pray for an end to the blockade and the restoration of life and health to this piece of your creation. Lord, in your mercy..
• Lord Jesus, we ask you to draw near to a number of our friends from the Sabeel family who are suffering serious illness at this time. We pray for Robert Assaly from Canada, Ken Sparks from Australia and Jean Zaru, a founding member of Sabeel and ask for your comforting and healing hands to hold these dear friends. For those whose sufferings we do not know about, may they also know your power to heal. Lord, in your mercy…
The Israeli army carried out an undercover raid in the occupied city of Jenin last week. Israeli soldiers shot and killed four Palestinians, Yousef Shriem ,29, Nidal Khazem, 28, Omar Awadin, 14 and Luay Zghayyar, 37. This raid comes after three Palestinians were shot and killed in Jenin just last week.
• Lord, we pray for the family and friends of Yousef, Nidal, Omar and Luay as they grieve their loss. We pray also for the Palestinians recovering in hospital suffering from serious gunshot wounds. We pray for an end to these deadly Israeli army raids which bring further unrest and terror to occupied Palestinian cities. Lord, in your mercy..
During this Lenten season Palestinian Christians are devoting themselves to times of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. While this week Palestinian Muslims will mark the beginning of Ramadan by fasting from sunrise to sunset, taking part in charitable acts and meeting up with family members.
• Lord, we pray that during this season we will draw aside in worship and prayer. As we bring our prayers for our families and neighbours to you, help us to remember to pray faithfully for our Palestinian brothers and sisters. May we stand with them as they cling to the word of hope, which helps them resist the dispossession and injustice they suffer under occupation. Lord, in your mercy..
Last week a number of settlers attacked a Palestinian family living in a tent near the village of Deir Jarir, east of Ramallah. The Israelis from a nearby settlement beat Sadek Farakhneh and his family members and raided his barn, stealing his donkey and thirty sheep. After the settler attack Israeli soldiers raided his tent and assaulted him. He has been offered emergency help from the Wall and Settlement Resistance Commission
• Lord, we are deeply shocked by these pitiless assaults on Palestinian subsistence farmers, like Sadek. We pray that international organisations and governments will challenge the Israeli government for the way they grant impunity to the Israeli assailants. Lord, in your mercy…
On Friday, the 10th of March, Israeli soldiers detained a young boy from Hebron on the charge of throwing stones. Abdul Shakeen from the Tal Rumeida neighbourhood was arrested, taken to a military post, beaten, verbally abused and released some hours later.
• Lord Jesus, we pray for the Palestinian children who are arrested, assaulted, abused and imprisoned by the Israeli army. We pray that the Israeli government will be held to account by the international community to respect the human rights of Palestinian children and to abide by international law in how they treat them. Lord, in your mercy..
Five hundred Gazan school pupils gathered together in the Khan Younis neighbourhood to fly Japanese-inspired kites to mark seventy years of partnership between Japan and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East. During 2023 the partnership will be celebrated with events based on a shared theme of ‘tsumugu’ (meaning ‘connect, spin, weave’).
• Lord, we give thanks as the Gazan students continue to reach out to the people of Japan, just as they did in the 2011 East Japan Earthquake. We also thank you for the steadfast and generous help for UNRWA, provided by the Japanese people over the past seventy years. Lord, in your mercy..
• We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Lord, in your mercy…
Next week Kumi Now will focus on the water scarcity in the West Bank, as we remember World Water Day on Wednesday, the 22nd of March. Palestine is generally rich in water resources, but those water resources are being exploited by Israeli interests while being denied to the Palestinians on the land.
- Lord, we pray for an end to the Israeli obstruction to the access and use of Palestinian natural resources and especially their water resources.
Lord in your mercy..
For the past ten weeks large protests have been taking place across Israel against the judicial reforms proposed by the new right-wing Israeli government. The protestors are focused on the government plans to politicise the judiciary. However there are few Israeli voices raised in protest against the escalating violence that is being unleashed by the Israeli authorities and the illegal settlers against the Palestinians. Last week hundreds of Israeli settlers torched Palestinian homes in four occupied villages.
- Compassionate and merciful Lord, we cry out to you as we see Israeli forces and settlers attacking Palestinians in the occupied territories with apparent immunity. We pray for an end to the occupation and the cycle of violence and turmoil.
Lord, in your mercy..
International runners from more than ninety different countries joined Palestinian runners for the Ninth International Palestinian Marathon held in Bethlehem on Friday, the 10th of March. The Palestinian Olympic Committee sponsored the event to raise greater awareness about the circumstances of the Palestinians. Competitors aiming to run the full marathon have to complete the 11km stretch four times over to avoid having to pass through Israeli checkpoints.
- Lord, we give thanks that runners from so many different countries participated in this year’s Palestinian Marathon. We pray that they will have been impacted as they followed the track along the separation wall, through crowded refugee camps and surrounded by hilltops covered with illegal settler housing units.
Lord, in your mercy..
Last week the Palestinian Ministry for Education made an appeal to international human rights and humanitarian organisations to defend the rights of Palestinian children to an education. The Jibb al-Deeb School in the Bethlehem area, which serves forty primary school pupils, is once again under threat of destruction. It was demolished and rebuilt in 2017.
- Lord, we bring these young Bethlehemite children and their families before you as they wait to see if their school is going to be demolished. We pray that international organisations will challenge the Israeli government’s plan to raze the school.
Lord, in your mercy..
A report entitled, ‘Can’t even be a widow’ has just been published by Euro-Med Monitor. It is based on interviews with family members of missing Palestinian migrants and asylum seekers who have attempted to leave the Gaza Strip. Some grieving relatives have been contacted by gangs claiming to have information about the missing persons and demanding large sums of money to release it.
- Lord, the pitiless blockade of Gaza over the past seventeen years has led many Palestinians to risk their lives by trying to escape. We pray for an end to the Israeli blockade which is condemning Palestinians to poverty, unemployment and despair.
Lord, in your mercy..
Pope Francis welcomed participants from the Palestinian Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue to the Vatican last week. The delegation focused their discussions on the spiritual significance of Jerusalem. The Pope expressed his hope that the city would remain a place of encounter and a symbol of peaceful co-existence for the followers of the three monotheistic faiths.
- Lord Jesus, we remember how you wept over Jerusalem. We echo the prayer of Pope Francis,‘How many men and women, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, have wept and in our day continue to weep for Jerusalem. At times, we too are moved to tears when we think of the Holy City, for she is like a mother whose heart cannot be at peace due to the sufferings of her children.’
Lord, in your mercy…
- We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden.
Lord, in your mercy..
9th of March 2023
Next Tuesday Kumi Now will consider how peace building opportunities are opening up to Palestinian and Israeli women in spite of the occupation. We have just celebrated International Women’s Day and we think of the women activists involved in the nonviolent campaign of resistance against the Israeli occupation.
• Lord, we thank you for the courage and commitment of the Palestinian and Israeli women working to bring about peaceful and lasting change to their country now ravaged by violence. Lord, in your mercy …
On Wednesday, the1st of March,Israel’s Finance Minister, Smotrich said that the Palestinian village of Huwara near Nablus in the occupied West Bank should be ‘wiped out’ and that the State of Israel should be the one to do so. This remark followed riots by Israeli settlers in the area which left one Palestinian shot dead, many others injured and property destroyed, in response to an earlier attack that killed two Israeli settlers.
• Lord, we pray for the families of those killed or injured recently in Huwara. We pray that calm and order may be restored by the Israeli authorities and that all the perpetrators of the violence may be held to account for their actions. Lord, in your mercy..
Two sisters and their brother, aged 3,4 and 8 respectively, were fatally injured last Thursday morning when they were hit by a car in the Shuafat Refugee Camp in East Jerusalem. Paramedics reported that they had been hit by a car as they were walking to school. Doctors were unable to save their lives.
• Merciful Lord, we bring the family and friends of these three young children from Shuafat Camp before you. We pray for support and comfort for them as they mourn their devastating loss. Lord, in your mercy..
The Popular Palestinian Conference was forced to issue a press release and abandon their television press conference in Ramallah last week. The Wattan TV offices were shut down by security officers from the Palestinian Authority. The conference was going to broadcast the text of a document signed by one hundred and fifty prominent Palestinians. They are challenging the Palestinian Authority’s decision to withdraw a plan to propose a UN resolution objecting to recent Israeli violations.
• Lord we pray that the Palestinian Authority will respect the right of other Palestinians to express their views without fear of censorship. Lord. In your mercy…
Last week Israel’s National Security Minister, Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, the Finance Minister and Minister in charge of civilian affairs in the West Bank announced their decision to seize the bank accounts of 87 freed prisoners living in East Jerusalem. Since then two freed prisoners from Jerusalem, Mohammad Dirbas and Ayoub Afanah have had the funds in their bank accounts confiscated. While the parents of Bashar al Obaidi, a prisoner from East Jerusalem have undergone punishment by the Israeli authorities. His mother was arrested and interrogated, while his father’s car was seized and confiscated.
• Merciful and compassionate Lord, we cry out to you as we see the Israeli authorities loading heavier and heavier punitive measures on the backs of Palestinians. Lord, in your mercy..
Recently the Chelsea Community Hospital School at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital took part in a collaborative art project with school children from Gaza.
Plates decorated by the Palestinian children were put on display at the hospital. However the display was removed after the hospital received a complaint from the UK Lawyers for Israel which stated that the display made Jewish patients feel ‘vulnerable, harassed and victimised’.
• Lord we are saddened that a small art display in a London hospital reflecting the harsh realities of life in Gaza was removed. We pray for the children of Gaza who have only known terror, bombardment, poverty and deprivation for the past fifteen years under Israeli siege. Lord, in your mercy…
• We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Ireland and the United Kingdom: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Lord, in your mercy..
Next Tuesday Kumi Now will consider how peace building opportunities are opening up to Palestinian and Israeli women in spite of the occupation. We will be celebrating International Women’s Day on Wednesday, the 8th of March, and thinking of the many women activists involved in the nonviolent campaign of resistance against the Israeli occupation.
- Lord, we thank you for the courage and commitment of the Palestinian and Israeli women working to bring about peaceful and lasting change to their country now ravaged by violence. Lord, in your mercy …
The Israeli government has just granted Cabinet-level authority over illegal settlement policies to Smotrich, the Finance Minister. More than seven thousand settler housing units have been approved. The E1 plan is also going to be revived, which would effectively bisect the West Bank by allowing settler development in a strategic area of occupied East Jerusalem.
- Merciful Lord, we pray that international governments and organisations will hold the Israeli government to account for its disregard of international law over its policy of rapid settlement expansion in occupied territory.
Lord in your mercy..
The well-known Dublin-based Bohemian Football Club has just released a new football kit promoting the Palestinian cause. A club representative, Daniel Lambert stated:
‘This 2023 shirt is aiming to assist children in Palestine who face unimaginable challenges and human rights’ violations each and everyday’. A percentage of the profit from the sale of the shirts will go towards sports equipment and help in sports participation for children in the Tulkarm Refugee Camp in the occupied West Bank.
- Lord, we give thanks for this new initiative from the Irish football club to contribute funds to give Palestinian refugees the opportunity to improve their health and skills through participation in sport.
Lord in your mercy..
Shopkeepers in the Old City of Hebron usually shut their premises at 2pm to avoid attacks from illegal settlers living in the nearby Beit Romano settlement. B’tselem have just issued a full report on the price paid by two Palestinian shopkeepers who tried to keep their shops open until the usual closing time of 5pm. Soldiers ordered them to close their shops on the pretext that Palestinian children were throwing stones at the settlement. They threw stun grenades outside and inside the antique shop, damaging goods. They threatened them with arrest and pointed their guns at them. They have returned with the same threats on several other occasions.
- Lord, we pray for the Palestinian shopkeepers of Hebron trying to earn a livelihood in the face of attacks from Israeli settlers and soldiers. So many have despaired of earning a living under pressure of such relentless harassment and have left. Some have no other option but to remain and face the violence and abuse each day.
Lord, in your mercy..
The International Jewish Collective for Justice in Palestine is made up of Jewish groups and individuals who live in fifteen different countries. Members of this group have welcomed the Mayor of Barcelona’s decision ‘to cut ties with Israel until everyone in Israel/Palestine fully enjoys their rights, safety and self-determination.’
- Righteous Lord, we give thanks when public figures like Mayor Colau take a stand to affirm universal human rights. We pray that other politicians will call out Israel over its policies of human rights abuses against Palestinians.
Lord, in your mercy..
Large numbers of soldiers entered the busy city of Nablus early last Wednesday morning in a raid targeting two Palestinian fighters, who allegedly shot an Israeli soldier last October. Residents of Nablus were terrorised as the Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition indiscriminately and used teargas with pepper spray on crowds in the streets. The army used rocket propelled grenades and armed drones to kill the Palestinian fighters, while nine other Palestinians were killed and eighty other bystanders were injured.
- Lord, we pray for an end to these deadly Israeli army raids in the occupied West Bank. Just in the first two months of this year so many Palestinians have been shot dead and seriously wounded. We continue to pray for an end to this bloodshed.
Lord, in your mercy..
- We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands.
Lord in your mercy..
23rd of February 2023
Next Tuesday Kumi Now will consider how Palestinians are impacted by the restrictions imposed on their freedom of movement by the Israeli authorities. More than 70,000 Palestinians face the dehumanising experience of being processed every day at the 500 permanent checkpoints and countless ‘flying’ checkpoints set up to control their journeys to school, hospital or work.
- Merciful Lord, we pray for the Palestinian people caged in their own land by military checkpoints, separation walls, travel permits. We pray for a dismantling of this inhumane system of oppression and degradation. Lord, in your mercy..
Last week, Issa Amro , the Palestinian activist and founder of Youth Against Settlements, was assaulted by an Israeli soldier as he was conducting a tour of his home city of Hebron.
Lawrence Wright, a journalist for the weekly New Yorker magazine, filmed the incident. It showed an Israeli soldier grabbing Amro by the neck and throwing him to the ground and kicking him, before another soldier pulled him away.
- Lord, we bring to you the Palestinian people trying to survive in the city of Hebron as they face increasing levels of violence and abuse from Israeli soldiers and illegal Israeli settlers, now living in the Old City and in nearby settlements. Lord, in your mercy…
The Jerusalem Union of Christian Scouts undertook three days of events to raise funds for Syrian families who have been caught up in the recent devastating earthquakes. They managed to raise over 60,000 dollars.
- Lord, we give thanks for the outpouring of compassion and sacrificial giving from the Palestinian people to help those who have been affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Lord, in your mercy…
The Continental Synodal Assembly for the Middle East gathered in Beirut last week. Delegates representing seven Catholic Churches, (Coptic, Syriac, Maronite, Melkite, Chaldean, Armenian and Latin) from the Holy Land, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Armenia came together to consider how to work with each other to address the many challenges they face in the region. Sawsan Bitar, the programme co-ordinator of Sabeel was one of the delegates from the Holy Land.
- Lord Jesus, we pray that the Beirut Assembly inspired the delegates to commit to working together for the Christian community in the Middle East and to delight in the rich diversity of their traditions, bound together in their shared faith. Lord, in your mercy…
On Wednesday, the 15th of February, the Knesset approved legislation that states that Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem sentenced to prison on offences that breach ‘trust to the State of Israel’ can have their citizenship or residency revoked and be deported to the occupied West Bank or to Gaza. The new law is discriminatory as it only applies to Palestinian citizens of Israel and permanent residents of East Jerusalem; it does not apply to Israeli Jews.
- Merciful Lord, we cry out to you as we see the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people being stripped away by the new Israeli government. We pray that international governments and organisations will speak up and challenge these further breaches of international and humanitarian law. Lord, in your mercy..
Last week Hassan Muheisin had to destroy a build extension on his home with his own hands, after a court appeal failed. The Jerusalem Municipality claimed he had built onto his home without a building permit and was going to charge him excessive costs for demolishing his extension. While building permits are extremely difficult to obtain to Palestinians, the Jerusalem Municipality grants permits for thousands of housing units to be built for the illegal Israeli settlers.
- Lord, we pray for the Palestinians living In East Jerusalem as they face an uncertain future with so many home demolitions and discrimination against them in employment and services, as well as the threat of forcible transfer to the occupied West Bank. Lord, in your mercy..
More than seventy UK Members of Parliament and the House of Lords, representing different political parties, have just written to the Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, to condemn Israel’s plans to forcibly evict Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills. More than one thousand Palestinians living in the Masafer Yatta area are at imminent risk of being forcibly displaced from their homes.
- Lord, we pray that the UK government will listen to the call of parliamentarians to hold the Israeli government to account for its plans to forcibly transfer the people of Masafer Yatta, which will be a grave breach of international law. Lord, in your mercy..
- We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of France, Germany and Monaco. Lord, in your mercy…
16th of February 2023
Next week’s Kumi Now will consider the issues of Israeli illegal settlements and settler violence. According to B’Tselem more than two hundred settlements were established between 1967 and 2017 on land annexed from the occupied West Bank. These settlements depend on water and resources stolen from Palestinian villages. The settlers now living there routinely harass and assault Palestinian villagers and destroy their crops and property. This activity takes place under the protection of Israeli soldiers and without fear of prosecution by the Israeli authorities.
• Merciful Lord, we cry out to you as we hear the Israeli government speak of a further expansion of illegal settlement building on Palestinian land in the West Bank. Can Israel continue to breach international law with impunity? Lord, in your mercy..
A car ramming incident took place in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ramot on Friday, the 10th of February. A six-year-old child, Yaakov Pelli and his brother eight-year-old Asher along with twenty-year-old Alter Liderman, were killed and several other people were seriously injured while waiting at a bus stop when a car drove into them. The driver, Hussein Qaraqe, a 31-year-old Palestinian, was shot dead at the scene by an off-duty Israeli police officer. Qaraqe had just been released from a psychiatric ward after receiving treatment following an injury he had received on a construction site six months previously. After the incident a large number of Israeli police raided Qaraqe’s home in Isawiyah and arrested members of his family.
• Lord, we pray for the relatives of the Israelis injured and killed in this recent incident. We pray for the relatives of Qaraqe who are now being punished for his crime. We pray for wisdom and restraint for all those in positions of authority in Palestine/Israel that they will act to calm the tensions between the communities and guide them in the way of peace. Lord, in your mercy..
Tens of thousands of people have died and been injured in Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquake in Southern Turkey on Monday, the 6th of February. The full scale of the damage and the number of victims is still being investigated. Efforts to bring aid to north-western Syria are being hampered by ongoing warfare in the region.
• May we join with the prayers requested by a church leader in Hatay, Turkey, (Open Doors 9.2.23), ‘Please pray for the people who have lost their loved ones and are in sorrow and despair, that God would comfort them. Please pray for the people who are helping and serving. And please pray that ways would be opened soon, so we can bring more help to the area.’ Lord, in your mercy..
The Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has severed her city’s official ties with Israel, charging the country with ’the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people’. In a letter to the Israeli Prime Minister, she cited a number of Israeli policies in her charge, including the military occupation of the West Bank, the annexation of East Jerusalem and the construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
• Lord, we are thankful for the voices of protest over Israel’s violation of the human rights of Palestinians being raised around the world. Lord, in your mercy..
National Security Minister Ben Gvir has accused police in Jerusalem of, ‘losing control of the city to a group of anarchists’, after they held back from using force to disperse anti-government protestors last Thursday night. The Police Commissioner gave public support to the way the protest was handled, as tensions rise between the minister and the police authorities. For the past five weeks thousands of Israelis have been demonstrating across the country against the controversial legal reforms planned by the right-wing government to weaken the judiciary.
• God of justice, we continue to pray for all people who face injustice, especially these days, for the situation inside Israel, in particular the Palestinian minority in Israel and the Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank. We pray that freedom of speech and the right to protest for all people is protected and upheld. May your spirit Lord continue to give courage to the people not to be silent and echo your words “For he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Proverbs 2:8 , Lord, in your mercy..
Naseem Alatrash, a Palestinian cellist, was nominated for a Grammy Award in the recent ceremony in Los Angeles. He has been recognised for his work on ‘Crisalida’ a Latin Jazz album by Danilo Perez and the Global Messengers. He gives soloist concerts around the world and works as a professor at the Berkelee College of Music in Boston. Naseem was born in Beit Sahour and began studying the cello at the age of 12 years at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music.
• Lord, we praise you for the musical talent of Naseem Alatrash and for the way he is receiving international recognition for his gifts. Lord, in your mercy..
• We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Lord, in your mercy…
9th of February 2023
Next Tuesday, Kumi Now will focus on the ways in which the Israeli government denies Palestinians their human rights and fundamental freedoms. We will remember the World Day of Social Justice on February 20th and consider the UN statement that ‘social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations’. We will consider how peace can be achieved for Israelis and for Palestinians living under occupation.
• Lord, we pray for an end to the Israeli occupation with the restrictions on the human rights of Palestinians. We pray for the Palestinians who suffer citizenship denial and discrimination and are severely restricted in where they can travel, where they can work or live and even who they can marry. Lord, in your mercy..
The Church of England has imposed a twelve year ban on the Rev. Dr Stephen Sizer from fulfilling any priestly role. Dr Sizer has spoken out against Zionist policies used by the Israeli government against Palestinians. A case was brought against him by the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, accusing him of antisemitism. He was acquitted of all the charges in the case except one, for which he had already issued an apology to the Jewish community.
• Lord, we pray for Stephen Sizer as he comes to terms with the formal ban on his priestly role. We are thankful for his long witness to the injustices suffered by Palestinians living in Israel. Lord, in your mercy..
An American Jewish tourist was arrested for pulling over a large statue of Jesus in the Church of the Flagellation, along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem on Thursday, the 2nd of February. This incident took place amid high tension in the city and region following a week of violence.
• Lord, we pray that the Israeli police will hold to account all those who commit acts of violence and vandalism at the holy sites in Palestine/Israel. Lord, in your mercy…
B’Tselem has documented 48 incidents of settler violence against Palestinian farmers and their properties during the last olive harvest in the West Bank which took place from September to November 2022. The attacks were carried out with full state support and sometimes Israeli soldiers also took part in them. Many farmers were left without an expected income or even enough olive oil for their own domestic use.
• Lord, we bring Palestinian farmers before you as they try to look after their olive groves and support their families. We pray for an end to the violence from illegal settlers which is threatening the livelihoods of the farmers. Lord, in your mercy…
Israeli prison authorities assaulted Palestinian women prisoners in Damon jail on Tuesday, the 31st of January. Ben-Gvir, Minister of National Security, has enforced new measures in Naqab and Damon jails by imposing more raids and punitive measures, as well as solitary confinement for a week on more than one hundred prisoners.
• Lord, we pray for the Palestinian prisoners currently enduring harsh conditions in Israeli jails. We remember especially the 34 Palestinian women and 150 Palestinian children in prison and pray for the 835 Palestinians living under administrative detention. Lord in your mercy…
Khan al Ahmar, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, is under threat of imminent demolition by the Israeli authorities. It is located between two major illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Israeli government plans to expand those settlements and link them with the Jordan Valley. Over two hundred residents of Khan al Ahmar are determined to stay in their village despite constant harassment and surveillance and demolition threats from the Israeli authorities.
• Lord, we pray that international governments and organisations will challenge the Israeli government over its plans to break international law by forcibly transferring the villagers of Khan al Ahmar. Lord, in your mercy…
• We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Andorra, Italy, Malta, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Vatican City. Lord, in your mercy..
2nd of February 2023
Next Tuesday Kumi Now will consider how the Israeli blockade of Gaza impacts those who need to travel within the Palestinian territory for medical treatment. Many patients are unable to attend medical appointments for chronic illnesses as they are denied permits by the Israeli authorities.
- Merciful Lord, we pray for those suffering serious illnesses in Gaza, especially those who are denied travel permits. We pray for an end to the sixteen-year-old blockade of Gaza. Lord, in your mercy…
The US government has raised concerns over the recent escalation in violence used by Israeli forces. Ten Palestinians were killed during the Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the early hours of Thursday morning. This was the deadliest attack by the Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory for decades. Several rockets were fired into southern Israel from Gaza in response to the Jenin raid. Israel then hit back with three ground strikes in Gaza.
- Lord, we pray for the international efforts to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians to de-escalate the levels of violence. We pray for an end to the relentless Israeli army attacks on Palestinian communities, leading to so many deaths and injuries. Lord, in your mercy..
This week the Forum of Palestinian Journalists, based in Gaza, has criticised the dismissal of the cartoonist, Mohammad Sabaaneh. They stated that his dismissal ‘reflects the Palestinian Authority’s strange insistence on suppressing freedom of opinion and expression’. Sabaaneh’s recent cartoon was critical of the Palestinian Authority’s apparent lack of response to the heightened level of Israeli violence.
- Lord, we give thanks for the courage of people working in the media who use their freedom of expression to speak truth to power, even at great personal cost. Lord, in your mercy..
The Israeli government has just issued new guidelines which will make it even more difficult for foreigners to study or work in the occupied West Bank. These restrictions will further isolate Palestinians living in the West Bank from foreigners and from their own family members who do not hold West Bank ID.
- Lord, we pray that international organisations will challenge the Israeli government over their attempts to further repress and isolate Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank. Lord, in your mercy..
On Thursday, the 26th of January, Israeli forces informed Palestinian landowners in Khallet Ad-Dabi, one of the nineteen hamlets making up Masafer Yatta in the South Hebron hills, that they are about to uproot their saplings. The Dababseh family had planted a hundred fruit trees on the old site of the local school, which had been demolished by the Israeli army two years previously
- Lord, we cry out to you for the inhabitants of Masafer Yatta who have suffered years of violence from the Israeli forces. Their livestock and storage have been damaged, their wells filled in, their homes and schools demolished and yet they still show courage and resilience. We pray that international governments and organisations will continue to support them in their attempts to live peaceably on their land. Lord, in your mercy …
This month Ben Gvir, the National Security Minister, has ordered Israeli police to remove all Palestinian flags from public places. In response to this order an Israeli artist living in Tel Aviv drew himself in the colours of the Palestinian flag. Michael Rosanov then made his artwork into his Facebook profile picture and this has caught on with other disaffected Israelis. Last Saturday, 100,000 Israelis turned out in Tel Aviv to protest against the policies of the new right-wing Israeli government.
- Lord, we pray that Israelis will have the courage to speak out in protest over any government policies they believe may be used to oppress anyone, no matter their ethnicity. Lord, in your mercy…
This week the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land spoke out in strong condemnation of Israeli settler attacks which have taken place in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem. In the most recent attack a large group of settlers entered the New Gate and started shouting and chanting while waving flags. They then started to throw around tables and chairs at local restaurants, terrorising tourists and shopkeepers.
- Lord, we pray that the authorities responsible for administering law and order in Jerusalem will prosecute any settlers who deliberately vandalise the city. We pray that believers of all faiths will continue to have access to their holy sites and can visit their places of worship without fear of assault from radical groups. Lord, in your mercy…
- We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Western Sahara, Tunisia. Lord, in your mercy…
Next Tuesday Kumi Now will consider the discrimination faced by Palestinian citizens living in Israel where they make up over 20% of the whole population. Almost every aspect of their daily lives is affected by discrimination and over half of all Arab families in Israel are living below the poverty line.
• Lord, we seek your guidance and presence as we continue to give witness to the discrimination suffered by Palestinians living in Israel. Lord, in your mercy..
This week Palestinians disrupted the plans of the Israeli authorities to start demolishing their homes in Jabel Al-Mukkaber in East Jerusalem by pouring oil on the streets. The Israelis had to get their vehicles towed away from the area. They plan to demolish 800 Palestinian homes in the neighbourhood to make way for a commercial centre and 500 Israeli housing units. During the incident the Israeli authorities assaulted two local Palestinian men.
• Lord, we bring before you all Palestinian families facing the threat of home demolition. We pray for courage and resilience as so many continue to live with the threat of forcible eviction. Lord, in your mercy..
Sabeel Jerusalem has just hosted a group of students from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary based in the US state of Pennsylvania. The group of Presbyterian students were able to witness for themselves the restrictions imposed on Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and learned about Palestinian Liberation Theology.
• Lord, we thank you for the visit of the American seminarians to Sabeel. We pray that their visit will have impacted them deeply and that they will now go and tell their friends and family of the things they have witnessed. Lord, in your mercy…
The Israeli army shot two Palestinians during a heavy army raid in Jenin refugee camp in the early hours of Thursday, the19th of January. Jawad Bawaqneh, a 57-year-old father of six and local teacher, and Adham Jabareen, a young fighter in the Jenin Brigade were both shot and killed. A local journalist reported that Jawad was killed as he tried to bring Adham into his home to give him first aid treatment.
• Lord, we pray for the families of Jawad and Adham as they grieve their loss. We pray for an end to the Israeli army raids that are causing so many injuries and deaths in Palestinian communities. Lord, in your mercy..
On Wednesday, the 18th of January, the Orthodox Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Nourhan Manougian arrived in Bethlehem’s Manger Square at the head of a long procession. The procession, which starts in the Armenian Patriarchate of the Old City in Jerusalem, marks the celebration of Christmas and Epiphany for Armenian Christians.
• Lord, we thank you that Orthodox and Armenian Christians have just been able to celebrate Christmas according to the Julian Calendar, while the Roman Catholics and other denominations celebrated Christmas on December 25th, following the Augustan Calendar. Lord, in your mercy..
This is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and we look to the Words of Prayer of the World Council of Churches as we think of ‘the tears of the oppressed’ .
On Monday 23rd January, Sabeel, in cooperation with the catechetical office of the Latin Patriarchate, Jerusalem held a worship service for 10 Christian schools and almost 200 students. The service was held in the Melkite Church Jerusalem.
• ‘God of justice and grace, remove the scales from our eyes, so we can truly see the oppression around us.’ (Day 4) Lord, we ask for courage to stand up and advocate for all who are silenced as they seek justice and suffer oppression. May we especially remember the tears of the oppressed living in the Holy Land and be faithful in our prayers for them. Lord, in your mercy..
• We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. Lord, in your mercy..
Kumi Now will focus on the city of Jerusalem on Tuesday, the 24th of January. The United Nations’ Partition Plan in 1947 resolved that the city of Jerusalem would be an internationally administered city. However the Israeli government has taken steps to gain full Israeli sovereignty over the city, especially since the 1967 annexation of East Jerusalem.
• Lord Jesus, when you wept over Jerusalem you lamented that those living in the city could not recognise ‘the things that make for peace’. We pray for strength and guidance for all those who seek peace and righteousness in this suffering city. Lord, in your mercy…
On Thursday, the 12th of January, three Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. Habib Kamil ,25 years old, and Abdulhadi Nazal ,18 years old, were shot dead by live fire from Israeli troops during a raid in the town of Qabatiya, near Jenin. Earlier in the day an Israeli sniper shot Samir Aslan, a 41-year-old father of eight, when he was on the roof of his house with his family in Qalandiya refugee camp.
• Lord, we pray for the families of Habib, Abdulhadi and Samir as they grieve their loss. We pray for an end to the relentless Israeli military raids on Palestinian communities, which are provoking violence and leading to numerous arrests, injuries and extrajudicial killings. Lord, in your mercy…
Last week the US Court of Appeal in Washington dismissed the allegations brought by the Jewish National Fund, (JNF) against the United States Campaign for Palestinian Rights, (USCPR). The JNF are seeking to prove that the USCPR are liable for militant attacks against Israelis and Americans because of their support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and for the Great March of Return. The judge deemed the allegations were ‘insufficient’ and the attorney representing the USCPR stated that the lawsuit was an attempt to ‘smear human rights advocates as terrorists’.
• Lord, our help and our shield, we ask for protection for advocates for human rights as they face so many obstacles and attempts to silence their pleas for justice. Lord, in your mercy…
A health clinic in Kiryat Malakhi in southern Israel refused to give first aid treatment to Hamoudi Tarboosh a 23-year-old Palestinian on Wednesday, the 11th of January. He had cut his hand on a broken glass door while at work in a local store. Even though he was losing a lot of blood from the wound, the manager of the nearby clinic refused him entry and he had to travel to a hospital in Ashkelon to receive treatment. Recently the Israeli Medical Association declared that Israeli doctors ‘will never discriminate in the care they provide’. This declaration was issued in the media after the new far-right National Missions Minister had earlier stated that Israeli doctors should be allowed to refuse to provide treatments that contravene their religious faith.
• Lord, we pray that the ministers of the Israeli government will consider their pronouncements with care to avoid unleashing even stronger waves of racism and discrimination in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Lord, in your mercy…
Israeli authorities are preparing to carry out the collective eviction of eight of the 28 neighbourhoods in the Masafer Yatta area in the South Hebron Hills.
• Lord we pray that international governments and organisations will challenge the Israeli government over their plans to forcibly evict the people of Masafer Yatta. Lord these communities have suffered so many violent attacks and home demolitions over recent years and long to be left to live peaceably on their land. Lord, in your mercy…
Late on Thursday, the 12th of January, extremists wrote racist slurs in Hebrew on the stone walls of the Armenian Church in occupied East Jerusalem. The High Presidencia Committee of the Palestinian Authority for the affairs of Churches reported that the graffiti threatened death to Arabs, Armenians and Christians. They also warned that the racist expressions of far-right Israeli government ministers are giving rise to an outbreak of ‘hate speech and ugly provocation’.
• Lord, you warn us in your word that, ‘the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness’. We pray for wisdom to learn how to bridle our tongues. We pray for those in positions of authority that they will take care to avoid enflaming violence through their public declarations. Lord, in your mercy…
• We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Lord, in your mercy..
Sabeel Wave of Prayer
Next Tuesday Kumi Now will consider Israel’s policy of denying building permits to Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. As a result Palestinians have to build homes and businesses that are under constant threat of demolition or confiscation.
• Lord, we pray that international organisations and governments will challenge Israel over its policy of denying building permits to Palestinians, dispossessing them and encouraging illegal Israeli settlers to take their land and resources. Lord in your mercy…
Pope Francis paid tribute to his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday, the 5th of January, in a funeral attended by about fifty thousand mourners in St Peter’s Square.
Pope Emeritus Benedict had resigned from the papacy due to ill health in 2013. After the funeral he was buried in the crypt under St Peter’s Basilica.
• Lord, we give thanks for the life and devoted service of Pope Benedict XVI. We join with those who mourn his passing and say together, ‘Father, into your hands we commend his spirit.’ Lord, in your mercy…
The United Nations’ Security Council held an emergency meeting on Thursday, the 5th of January, to discuss Ben-Gvir’s recent provocative walk around the Al Aqsa Compound, flanked by Israeli security guards. The UN stated that his first public act since taking office, ‘reflected a lack of commitment to existing historical and legal status of the holy sites in Jerusalem and could further destabilise the fragile situation in the occupied Palestinian Territories.’
- Lord, we pray that the new Israeli government will take heed of the international condemnation of its first days in office. We pray that the government will not deliberately heighten tensions and spark violence through further provocative actions. Lord, in your mercy…
B’Tselem reported that the Israeli authorities have just given notice that a thousand residents of Masafer Yatta in the South Hebron Hills will soon receive orders of forcible eviction from their homes. Their land has been designated as ‘Firing Zone 918’ and is a closed military zone. B’Tselem has written to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague to protest that this forcible transfer of protected persons in occupied territory constitutes a war crime.
• Lord, we cry out to you for the residents of Masafer Yatta who face constant threats and ongoing violence from the Israeli authorities. We pray for urgent intervention from international organisations to allow them to remain living peaceably on their land. Lord, in your mercy…
The Israeli army shot Adam Ayyad, a 15-year old Palestinian teenager in the chest and killed him on Tuesday, the 3rd of January. The pre-dawn raid, involving dozens of armoured vehicles and many fully-armed Israeli soldiers led to confrontations with young Palestinians at Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem. Since the start of the year three Palestinians have already been killed as a result of the continuing campaign of intensified Israeli raids that have lasted almost a year.
• Lord, we pray for Adam’s family and friends as they now grieve over the loss of his young life. We pray for an end to the extrajudicial killings and the targeting of Palestinian children by Israeli forces. Lord in your mercy..
The vicar for migrants and asylum seekers in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Fr Nikodemus Schnakel, held a special early morning Christmas service for the Indian community in St Catherine’s Chapel at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Although the community had to gather at 4:30am and worshipped in the dark, due to a power cut, there were no complaints as they were so happy to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem.
• Lord Jesus, our good shepherd, lead us and guide us to welcome all who leave their homeland whether on pilgrimage or fleeing from persecution or poverty. We pray especially for the many migrants and asylum seekers who face so much fear and uncertainty in their lives. Lord, in your mercy..
Security camera footage caught two young men wearing religious Jewish clothing desecrating more than thirty graves at the Protestant Cemetery on Mount Zion during the afternoon of Sunday, the 1st of January. This act of vandalism has shocked church leaders around the world and they have called on Israel to crack down on extremist Israeli groups.
• Lord, we pray for an end to the frequent attacks against the Arab Christian community and their property by extremist groups. We pray that the Israeli police will thoroughly investigate the vandalism at the Protestant Cemetery and hold to account those responsible for the criminal acts. Lord, in your mercy..
• We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Iran, Iraq and Syria. Lord, in your mercy…